Prostate Cancer Research

The Prostate Cancer Center of Excellence, part of the Comprehensive Cancer Center, focuses on chemoprevention, genetic epidemiology and novel therapies. It coordinates more than 20 federally funded grants on prostate cancer, most from the National Institutes of Health. Many of the center’s projects are translational. In the area of chemoprevention, studies focus primarily on two agents — soy and vitamin D. Wake Forest Baptist’s genetic susceptibility research includes work based on the identification of the first prostate cancer susceptibility gene, HPC1. In the area of novel therapies, research includes the use of genetically engineered vesicular stomatitis virus to kill prostate cancer cells as well as therapies exploiting the roles of calcium and para-thyroid hormone.

Balaji K CUrologist
K.C. Balaji, MD, known for achieving multiple world-firsts in robotic surgery, is also an active researcher and a member of the Prostate Cancer Center of Excellence. His long-running federally funded research has identified protein kinase D1 (PKD1) as a novel regulator of epithelialmesenchymal transition in cancer cells. The protein is down-regulated in advanced prostate, breast and gastric cancers. Further, his work has identified snail, a master transcriptional regulator of E-cadherin, as a novel target of PKD1 for substrate phosphorylation that induces epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and stemness in prostate cancer. His ongoing research includes developing novel in vitro prostate microenvironment modeling using microcapsule technology and studying Ras signaling in prostate cancer. The ultimate goal is to identify biomarkers of indolent versus aggressive disease and to identify
protein targets for therapeutics.
Last Updated: 01-21-2014
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